The Supreme Court Upheaval: Analysis Across the Political Spectrum
With Senators like Mitt Romney (R-UT) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announcing their support for President Trump’s efforts to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat on the Supreme Court, the stage is set for the rapid approval of a Supreme Court justice before the presidential election in November. The process has added yet more fuel to partisan rifts in the country, generating accusations of hypocrisy and reckless partisanship while raising important questions: Who are President Trump’s likely nominees? Is this nomination process unprecedented? How might a conservatively-skewed court influence key issues like abortion rights and healthcare?
This week, The Factual analyzed over 1,500 articles from over 180 news outlets since Ginsburg’s passing on Friday to find the very best articles about the issues swirling around the Supreme Court. Below are five highly-credible articles, as rated by The Factual, from the left, center, and right that encapsulate the key factors driving the debate.
The Factual analyzes over 10,000 news articles a day from across the political spectrum and the world to identify the most credible news stories. To read more about how our algorithm scores articles for credibility, see our How It Works page.
- Trump’s Supreme Court Nominees List Gets New Scrutiny
Adam Liptak - New York Times - Credibility Grade: 90%
Trump’s list of potential nominees includes nearly 40 individuals, including Senators like Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), but was revealed prior to RBG’s passing. Trump has since vowed to nominate a woman to the court, though the last few years have shown the selection process to be subject to change.
Key Quote: “Mr. Trump’s lists, compiled with the help of conservative legal groups, have long been fluid. The first one, issued in May 2016, did not include Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, Mr. Trump’s first appointee, who was first named on a second list issued that September.”
- The Future Of The Affordable Care Act In A Supreme Court Without Ginsburg
Julie Rovner - NPR - Credibility Grade: 88%
At a time when healthcare is more in need than ever, Rovner explores how Ginsburg’s death could be the death knell for the Affordable Care Act, a long-time target of conservatives. While some doubts remain that another conservative judge would lead to the act’s complete dismantling, the potential ramifications of such a decision would affect 20 million people who have insurance via the ACA.
Key Quote: “Some court observers argue that Justice Brett Kavanaugh has not favored invalidating an entire statute if only part of it is flawed and might not approve overturning the ACA.”
- “McConnell set the precedent”: Democrats consider expanding Supreme Court if Trump replaces Ginsburg
Igor Derysh - Salon - Credibility Grade: 88%
Highlighting the seemingly inconsistent opinions by McConnell between 2016 and 2020, Derysh covers some of the arguments being made for and against expanding the court should Democrats win big in November. Despite the likelihood of an ideologically lopsided Supreme Court, Biden and Ginsburg both made comments in the recent past against expanding the court.
Key Quote: “The Supreme Court has had nine justices for more than 150 years, but that number was set by Congress following decades of fluctuation — not the Constitution. Democrats would first need to abolish the filibuster — once a taboo idea in party circles before it was endorsed by Obama earlier this year — in order to stifle Republican opposition."
- ‘Use my words against me’: What GOP senators said about election-year SCOTUS picks in 2016 and now
Arit John - Los Angeles Times - Credibility Grade: 87%
John documents the shifting positions of Republican lawmakers, contrasting statements about Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 with statements about Trump’s move to nominate a justice today.
Key Quote: “‘I want you to use my words against me,’ [Republican Senator Lyndsay] Graham said during a Judiciary Committee meeting. ‘If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’”
- What Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death means for the future of abortion rights
Anna North - Vox - Credibility Grade: 81%
Perhaps the most prominent issue of concern for Democrats is whether a conservatively-skewed court would set out to reverse or undermine Roe v. Wade — the landmark decision that established women’s constitutional rights to abortion. North explains how the Supreme Court pick may very well spell danger.
Key Quote: “The result will be an acceleration of what is already happening around the country: a two-tiered system of abortion, in which the procedure is accessible in blue states (and for people who can afford to travel) and out of reach everywhere else.”
- Can Trump and McConnell get through the 4 steps to seat a Supreme Court justice in just 6 weeks?
Caren Morrison - The Conversation - Credibility Grade: 88%
Dr. Morrison, an associate professor of law at Georgia State University, recounts the process of selecting a new Supreme Court justice, from presidential selection, to vetting by the Senate Judiciary Committee, to the discussion and vote on the Senate floor.
Key Quote: "The Senate has never filled a Supreme Court vacancy this close to a presidential election. The closest time in the past was when Chief Justice Charles Charles Evans Hughes resigned from the Court to run for president. And that was 150 days before the election."
- 5 things to know about Trump’s possible Supreme Court picks — including how Barbara Lagoa could help Trump win Florida
Nicole Lyn Pesce - MarketWatch - Credibility Grade: 86%
Pesce explores some of Trump’s most likely picks, focusing on two likely front-runners — Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa — though others make the list. Trump has reportedly previously suggested that Barrett was his likely replacement for Ginsburg, but choosing Lagoa, a Cuban-American and Florida native, could serve to boost his chances in a key swing state.
Key Quote: “Barrett is 48, Lagoa is 52 and Rushing is 38 — which would make any one of them the youngest justice on the current Supreme Court. This means that whichever one is picked could be in a position to decide landmark cases for a generation or more.”
- Nation Mourns Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Who Broke Barriers and Became a Feminist Icon
Nora McGreevy - Smithsonian Magazine - Credibility Grade: 86%
Amid the rush to decide the future of the court, McGreevy reminds us why it’s worth reflecting on the significant contributions of RBG. From landmark decisions to pop-culture fame, her 27 years of service to the nation’s highest court will leave a lasting impact.
Key Quote: “‘Young people should appreciate the values on which our nation is based, and how precious they are,’ Ginsburg noted in 2017, because ‘if they don’t become part of the crowd that seeks to uphold them. . . no court is capable of restoring it.’”
- How Losing RBG Could Shape Criminal Justice For Years to Come
Eli Hager and Beth Schwartzapfel - The Marshall Project - 85%
Hager and Schwartzapfel cover a range of issues expected to come before the Supreme Court that could shape the future of criminal justice. Among others, this includes a pending case about the rights of immigrants who face minor criminal charges as well as the prospect of weighing in on qualified immunity — a legal protection that many see as unfairly protecting police officers from legal challenges for misconduct.
Key Quote: “The immediate consequence of losing Ginsburg is that the case may end up in a 4-4 split, experts say. Lower court decisions would prevail, and more immigrants convicted of minor offenses in many parts of the country would be deported.”
- Why the Supreme Court ended up with nine justices—and how that could change
Amy McKeever - National Geographic - 84%
From John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to FDR, McKeever reveals a long history of attempts — both successful and not — to change the number of justices on the Supreme Court.
Key Quote: “In 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, then mayor of South Bend, Indiana, advocated for expanding the Supreme Court back to 15 justices with an aim to depoliticize it. According to his plan, five justices would be affiliated with Democrats, five with Republicans, and five would be apolitical and chosen by their colleagues.”
- SCOTUS Contender Amy Coney Barrett's Mixed Record in Criminal Cases
Jacob Sullum - Reason - Credibility Grade: 85%
In a thorough examination of Barrett’s judicial record, Sullum explores where the judge — perhaps the top contender on Trump’s list — has sided with defendants and with the state in past decisions, revealing a history that “will give pause to civil libertarians.”
Key Quote: “While she is often skeptical of the government's arguments when it tries to put or keep people in prison, she has sometimes rejected claims by defendants and prisoners that her colleagues found credible.”
- Let's Not Fight to the Bitter End for the Supreme Court
Bill Scher - Real Clear Politics - Credibility Grade: 84%
Scher, a contributing editor to Politico Magazine, recounts the dangers of a further escalating tit-for-tat struggle between Republicans and Democrats, a warning to be heeded by both sides.
Key Quote: “Will enough Republicans want to reverse our national polarization, and prioritize protecting the integrity of our institutions over claiming partisan spoils? If not, will a President Biden be guided by his own moderate, bipartisan impulses, or will the prospect of a partisan, oppositional Supreme Court undermining his ability to govern prompt him to plunge into partisan procedural warfare?”
- Biden explains why he won’t release list of Supreme Court nominees like Trump
Emily Larsen - Washington Examiner - Credibility Grade: 80%
Biden’s refusal to release his likely Supreme Court nominees has been criticized by the Trump campaign but apparently follows past precedent for not singling out these individuals, for risk of adversely affecting the selection process. In 2016, Trump publicly presented his list, the first time a presidential candidate has ever done so.
Key Quote: “‘First, putting a judge's name on a list like that could influence that person's decision making as a judge, and that would be wrong — or at least create the perception it would influence,’ Biden said.”
- What To Know About Barbara Lagoa, Potential Supreme Court Pick Whose Stock Is Rising
Andrew Solender - Forbes - Credibility Grade: 78%
Solender examines key facts about Barbara Lagoa that could influence her chances of securing the nomination. Chief among those factors include relatively more bipartisan support for Lagoa (than Barrett) and the potential boon to Trump’s election hopes in Florida from selecting a Cuban-American.
Key Quote: “. . . during her confirmation hearing for the 11th Circuit, she told the Senate she believes Roe v. Wade is ‘binding precedent of the Supreme Court’ and ‘settled law.’”
- Appellate Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s record in Chicago could be focus if Trump nominates her to replace Ginsburg
Jason Meisner - Chicago Tribune - Credibility Grade: 74%
Meisner digs into Amy Coney Barrett’s judicial record for Chicago’s 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as the relationship between her faith and legal approach. Amid alarm bells on the left about Barrett’s potential nomination, particularly as it relates to Roe v. Wade, Meisner presents Barrett as a respected and principled judicial mind.
Key Quote: “Supporters and former colleagues, however, described an exacting legal thinker committed to separating her faith from her interpretation of the Constitution and law.”
Written by Phillip Meylan
Phillip is a writer, editor, and researcher. Before completing his MSc in Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2019, he worked as an editor and content strategist for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. When he’s not working, you can find him playing soccer, hiking, or cooking.